You can always count on Democrats to blow it when they own DC. Jonathan Chait shows how a Democratically controlled Congress devolves to its days as a fragmented, barely assembled coalition held by local paladins. I’m not so sure, by the way, that it’s a bad thing that the Congress is asserting itself as a… More

Excuse the light posting: I’ve been on vacation this week. But if you ignore Matt Taibbi’s hysterical prose you’ll actually get the best breakdown (yes, pun intended) of what’s happened between Wall Street, the Fed, and Congress in the last ten years, and it’s truly frightening. The abdication of Congressional regulatory power, cronyism, and concentration… More

This is the man praised by the faithful as the “philosopher pope”? A determined, spiteful dismissal of empirical data ill-suits a church still reeling from scandal and lawsuits. Then again, most intelligent Catholics have reconciled their conflicts with matters of dogma and doctrine — like, say, my mother, a pro-choice Rush Limbaugh conservative. Embrace contradiction,… More

Natasha Richardson

Sad. I liked her, but having never seen her on stage I don’t know whether she ever delivered a film performance that lingers in the mind (I’ve never seen Patty Hearst either). But she belonged to one hell of an acting dynasty, and I feel for her mother, who still delivers uncannily effortless performances in… More Natasha Richardson

I have to think about some of its central points, but Clay Shirky’s essay on how the Internet destroyed print journalism and how the major news conglomerates failed to adapt in the late nineties makes a number of must-read points. The first one is the most obvious: “Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up… More

I was reminded yesterday of how well this song has aged.

“Lurid” is a tame word to describe what happens in Narrow Rooms, James Purdy’s 1978 novel about a young man’s perverse entanglements with a, well, really fucked-up family. The style and tone were unique: a mix of the arty pulp of Faulkner’s Sanctuary and the matter-of-fact depiction of horrors. Like many readers, I credit Gore… More